Friday, 20 February 2015

How's My Tweeting - The Results!

In January I asked you ‘How’s My Tweeting’ to get feedback on my use of Twitter so that I could improve how I connect with and help you through this medium.

The results are in! Here’s a link to the full results, but I’ll summarise the findings and what I intend to do differently below.  In my interpretation of the results I’ve tried to avoid looking too deeply into individual things said but to be more influenced by trends across a range of comments (with the exception of those from Mrs F – love you too!).


I got 47 responses to the survey with many answering all the questions. I really only expected about a dozen, so this is amazing!  I am really grateful to anyone of you 47 lovely people who took the time to give me feedback; thank you.  The down-side is that, from my almost 12,000 followers, this not a statistically representative sample and also self-selected, probably by those who mainly agree with what I tweet.  Therefore, I will be careful in my interpretation, but I will work with this response and treat it with respect due to the time generously given by you 47 to help me to improve my use of Twitter.

The Results

Q1. Have you ever read my #ThoughtForTheDay shared daily at 8.00am?

About a 1/3 to 2/3 split with the majority having seen this.  This is encouraging, as it’s a part of my presence on Twitter that’s important to me and I’m glad it’s seen by the majority of those who responded to the survey.

Q2. If you answered YES to the previous question (Q1), please describe how useful/relevant this is to you?

In the main a positive vibe from what people have said and many find it a useful start to the day. Some who do see it, but not until later in the day, also found it useful.  I’ll therefore continue to share my daily thought, but due to comments made in response to other questions I will try to share more of my own personal thoughts and not just quote others’ that I’ve found inspiring/thought-provoking.

Q3. What kind of information do you want to see me share?

Really interesting to have such a positive response to “Health-Related News”, which I will now try to share more of.  I will also share less “Non-Health-Related News”, as there was a much smaller level of support for this.  Also interesting was the muted enthusiasm for my sharing Tweetchat summaries and word-clouds, which I will still share, but perhaps in a lesser quantity.  All the other areas I will continue to share in similar ways as I have done from your responses of support.

Q4. Who/what kind of people should I spend more time engaging with through Twitter?

The overwhelming response to this was to continue what I’m doing, to engage with as broad a range of people as possible, but with particular focus on front-line healthcare staff.  There was also some support for me to increase my engagement with those outside of healthcare provision, such as people in politics/policy arenas to try to have greater influence.  I have previously shied away from this in any large way, but will now aim to do more, with your support.  There were a few comments in response to this and other questions suggesting I should engage more with the voluntary sector, which I will also strive to improve on.

Q5. How can I engage better and have better conversations?

As for the last question, a lot of support for continuing in the same vein as now.  There were some helpful suggestions about adding more of my own thoughts, ideas, opinions and personality when I share information or links to resources.  I also really valued the couple of comments about my blog and how I could connect across/between this and others’ blog-posts to add value to both.

Q6. How serious should I be in conversations on Twitter; let me know your thoughts?

From your response to this I took that the majority, but certainly not all, think that an element of fun is important on Twitter.  I take from this that it’s important for this side of my personality to shine through and I will continue.

Q7. Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?

Further support for continuing as I have been and also some helpful suggestions of what in particular I should continue doing, such as maintaining my real-world personality on Twitter.  There was definite support for retaining the fun in what I do, but balancing this appropriately with the topic I’m engaging on.


I am grateful for your honest and constructive feedback.  I will in the main continue as I have been in how I use Twitter, but there are some key areas that I will improve on.  These include, but aren’t exclusive to: increasing my engagement with political/policy people and those from the voluntary sector; make connections between my blog and others; share my views on information/links I share; and retain my sense of fun in appropriate ways.

Friday, 16 January 2015

'The Other Guy'

An ‘open blog’ to all political parties on the NHS in advance of the general election

I recently received a letter from an MP/parliamentary candidate* where I live.  If you haven’t had one similar, then it’s probably coming soon.  The letter went on for a whole page describing all the things wrong with the local NHS, ‘explaining’ all the reasons why this was the fault of ‘the other guy’ and no explanation at all of what this individual had/would do should they be/continue to be in Government following the general election.
It appears that “despite concern re NHS, parties are neck and neck” Ben Page, CEO, Ipsos MORI:

It is also likely that the NHS will be one of, if not the, most significant debating points in the run-up to this general election.  Ben Page of Ipsos MORI again: “NHS goes to the top of issues voters say will use to cast their votes in May”:

The Kings Fund Election Tracker already allows you to follow how issues relating to health and social care are being played out throughout the respective parties’ campaigns.
Personally, I don’t have much time for party politics due to the school-boy/girl-like behaviour of many politicians both within and outside The House.  In spite of this, I take politics seriously and fear for the NHS during the coming months of the election campaign.  Therefore, I want to address three main points through this blog-post to the politicians as they embark on their election campaigns: firstly, on positivity about self being more productive than negativity about others; secondly, being respectful about those who are being used for political gain; and thirdly, use of honest evidence-based argument, if you don’t know, don’t make it up!

Be positive about yourselves, not negative about ‘the other guy’

In making our decision as to who to vote for, we are more likely to be attracted by positive people who set out a clear vision for what can be achieved than to negativity about what ‘the other guy’ is doing/will do wrong.  It will therefore be much more popular if you clearly explain what you will do different than ‘the other guy’ to benefit us rather than rubbishing what he/she did or didn’t do whilst in power/propose to do if they get in power.  I know you will argue “but it’s important to state what difference our policies will make to the mess ‘the other guy’ left behind/will make”, but it is the constant and unrelenting school-yard criticism of each other that is contributing to people’s negative attitude towards politics!

Be respectful of those working hard in the NHS
It is already clear that the main political parties will use the NHS as a football throughout the election campaign.  There are more than 1.6 million people who working in the NHS, all of whom, I’m sure go to work aiming to do a good job with the interest of the people we serve at heart.  It is unfair, unreasonable and unhelpful to continually criticise the NHS, i.e. staff, for what ‘the other guy’ might have done in the past/be doing now/may do in the future.  Tell us what you will do; how this will make things better for those who use and work in the NHS.  A positive message about the good you will do if you get into/continue in power should be more effective than constant negativity and criticism over what has gone before.  Negativity about the NHS risks alienating people, i.e. voters, who work in, have family-members who work in, use or have family-members who use it; so basically, the whole electorate!
Be honest and use evidence-based facts and stories
My final request is that in all political debate about the NHS that you talk honestly, based on facts and evidence, i.e. don’t make it up!  If you don’t know, say so.  If you enter any kind of debate about the NHS, be sure of what’s true and what’s not.  For issues where you don’t know the facts, but they are there to be known, go and find out.  Visit the front-line, talk to people who use and work in the NHS, get first hand stories, as well as evidence-based facts.  There are areas where there is no definitive evidence; the NHS is complex and complicated, I do get that, but this isn’t an excuse to simply criticise or make things up.  Also, ‘the NHS’ is not one single simple organisation, it is a complex system made up of many different organisations and structures, so avoid wild generalisations where they are not true.  Finally on this point, individual people’s stories are really powerful and important to bring complex issues to life for voters, but please tread carefully in your use of stories.  Don’t take advantage of those who are kind enough to permit you to tell their story and be extremely careful not to represent single instances as the norm where evidence clearly shows this not to be the case.

Adopt these principles
In summary; please adopt these principles in your use of the NHS for your campaigning purposes: 1. be positive about what you can do, not negative about what ‘the other guy’ might do or not do; 2. be respectful of those working hard for better outcomes for people through the tough, but rewarding roles we have in the NHS; and 3. be honest and accurate, base what you say on evidence and stick to the facts, where they are available.

Please follow this 'simple' approach and the debate about the NHS during the election campaign may be a bit more sensible than I otherwise fear it will be!

(*You may note from how I have written this post that I’ve been deliberately evasive about the individual and political party whom the letter I received originated from, as I want this blog to be heard equally and recognised for what it is; politically neutral.  I don’t want anyone who is a supporter of, or opposed to, any particular political party to dismiss what I have written as rhetoric in favour of or against their personal political persuasion.  I hope I have succeeded in this?)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

How's My Tweeting?

It is the customary time of year to think about new beginnings and I have been reflecting on my use of social media, in particular Twitter.

I have always been interested in continuous self-improvement for the benefit of others.  This can be achieved through reliable feedback, reflection, learning. adaptation and practise. 

It is therefore through this blog, and connected survey, that I am seeking your feedback on my use of Twitter so that I may reflect, learn and then practise new things.

In 2015 I plan to…
  • share #MyThoughtForTheDay at 8.00am every day, but want to know how useful this is to you
  • share information, resources and publications that I come across, but need to know which areas to focus my attention on to be of most benefit to you
  • engage in conversations with fellow health professionals, members of the public and anyone with an interest in improving care, services and outcomes for better health for people; I want to know the ways in which I can do this that will have the best effect
  • finally, but most importantly, to have fun.  Whilst people’s health and future is an important business, which I take very seriously, I want my engagement through Twitter to be enjoyable for me and others, so I need to know what I can do to ensure this. 

I would be grateful for less than five minutes of your time to tell me what I can do better.  I will share the results of my survey to get your feedback and what I intend to do about what I learn.  I also believe that what you tell me will, at least in part, be applicable to many others and how they use Twitter too.

Click HERE to link to the survey and thank you very much in advance for your input.

(NB The intended audience of the survey is anyone who I do or have engaged with on Twitter.  This is not limited to anyone in particular, so please do let me know your thoughts through this survey)